A green-fingered volunteer has been keeping Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice in mouth-watering fresh organic produce for the best part of a decade.

To celebrate National Allotment Week, August 12 – 16, we caught up with our very own gardening guru, Melvin Partridge.

Melvin, 75, has tended to Bluebell Wood’s fully accessible allotment for almost nine years, even brushing shoulders with Alan Titchmarsh along the way. 

“I saw an advert in the shop in Dinnington when I’d been retired for about 12 months,” said the married grandfather of three from Aston.

“I’d had 50 years working indoors and I’ve always loved being outside so it was ideal.” 

Melvin’s dedication is such that he tends to the allotment every week without fail, except in the winter months. Yet he remains modest about his horticultural prowess.

“I’m no Monty Don, but I do alright,” he said.

“I was here when Alan Titchmarsh came to do the Memory Garden. The weather was terrible and it rained all day but they did a terrific job and I did my bit too.”

One person who would beg to differ with Melvin’s humble opinion of his skills is Bluebell Wood’s cook, John Wan.

John said: “It comes in really handy and we try to use it all fresh on the day it’s picked if it suits the menu.

“It’s great to have organic, fresh veg on site and a huge thank you to Melvin for all the work he puts into it.”

Volunteers built Bluebell Wood’s allotment around nine years ago with raised beds so that children in wheelchairs are able to pick fruit and vegetables.

As part of National Allotment Week, which is a National Allotment Society initiative, sites across the country will open their gates to the public to share their love of gardening and growing crops.